New conservation road map far from a plan for success

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 11, 2008 - 9:29 AM

Long on words but short on accountability designation, Minnesota's new conservation road map is sorely lacking.

The temptation while wading through the 300-plus-page Minnesota Statewide Conservation and Preservation Plan unveiled this week by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) is to suggest that -- if this is indeed what plans are -- then the U.S. military was better off without one to govern its post-invasion strategy in Iraq.

Heavy on scholarly assessments and pronouncements but largely devoid of accountability designations, the plan is intended to provide a road map to a future Minnesota in which cleaner waters flow, "critical" lands are set aside, damaged habitats are restored and financial incentives for a sustainable society are offered.

The hope is that the plan, developed by the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment and various consultants, will help the state conserve its waters and lands before a tipping point is reached and many of its most important resources are gone for good.

Don't count on it.

Not only because the plan (intentionally, perhaps, given the oftentimes milquetoast nature of such documents) fails so thoroughly to call a spade a spade. But because while examining so ponderously the "big picture" of Minnesota's manifold conservation ills, it fails to lay bare the most fundamental, and politically dicey, obstacles needed to be overcome before meaningful conservation progress can occur.

Two of which are:

• The unchecked avarice in Minnesota that has nearly always placed individual, corporate and community profiteering ahead of resource conservation.

• A lack of conservation leadership.

Here's a spade, unvarnished:

Minnesota was settled by economic opportunists who rather quickly found advantage in placing or cultivating their handmaidens in the governor's office and the Legislature. Throughout the state's history, including yet today, the opportunists' intent has been to grease the economic and policy skids for agriculture, mining and other important state industries.

Another spade:

Time after time, average Minnesotans have enabled the handiwork of these politicians, most often because they vote their pocketbooks first and their conservation concerns last, or nearly so.

Or because --this is usually the case -- they fail to appreciate the severe environmental damage that can occur incrementally over generations.

Until this matrix changes, no conservation plan in the world will make a significant difference, particularly not one whose authors lack the backbone to place blame where it most deservedly belongs:

On all of us.

Conservation leadership is our best hope.

History has demonstrated repeatedly that real change is most likely to occur when individuals in positions of influence, or small groups of such people, define a vision for a better future and successfully lead people toward that vision.

The plan delivered this week by the U's Institute on the Environment, et al., doubtless will serve many good purposes over time.

The best of which would be if the LCCMR assumed its rightful leadership role and reconstituted the plan's most important findings and recommendations.

This second document should be considerably abbreviated (five pages or less), and punctuated by the addition of specific delineations of responsibility and accountability.

Absent that, Minnesota will remain where it has been for quite some time.

Up a creek. And a dirty one at that.

Dennis Anderson danderson@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Read the report

    Wednesday July 9, 2008

  • Venison program to go on

    Friday July 11, 2008

    Minnesota's venison donation program will continue this fall, with changes designed to prevent lead bullet fragments from contaminating meat.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Washington 70 3rd Qtr 6:07
New York 57
Oklahoma City 1:30 PM
San Antonio
Cleveland 4:00 PM
Miami
LA Lakers 7:00 PM
Chicago
Golden State 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
DePaul 2 1st Half 19:21
Loyola Marymount 0
Ohio 3:00 PM
Nebraska
Colorado 5:30 PM
Hawaii
George Washington 7:30 PM
Wichita State
Marshall 52 FINAL
Northern Ill 23
Navy 17 FINAL
San Diego St 16
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close